JCTC physics professor blogs for Vatican Observatory

Professor Grainey and a telescopeOh sure you can Google an answer, writes Christopher M. Graney. But if you really want to know the distance to the moon, all it takes is a little scientific calculation.

The lesson in Graney s latest post for the Vatican Observatory Foundation blog is less about math and more about the importance of scientific testing, replication and verification. But he gets bonus points for making calculating the distance to the moon look like fun.

Graney, professor of physics and astronomy at Jefferson Community amp; Technical College in Louisville and the college s resident astronomer, was invited in February by Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory, to begin writing for the Vatican Observatory Foundation blog.

Graney, an accomplished educator, researcher and author, was intrigued by the idea and gave it try.

Having never written a regular blog before, he wasn t sure what to expect, but he jokes that Consolmagno has not e-mailed me with uh, Graney, I think we ve made a mistake here.

The blog idea grew after Graney and Consolmagno came together for December 2015 program at the Louisville Free Public Library, sponsored by the Sigma Xi scientific research society, Beneath the Same Sky: A Vatican Astronomer and a Civil War General Speak to Louisville about the Heavens.

Graney said the focus of his blog posts is largely on the history of astronomy, and on education and outreach -- especially education and outreach with a community college twist.

I do not think the community college perspective is well represented in the science blog-o-sphere, and since I think the science world can learn a lot from the community college world, I m excited about that, he said.

At Jefferson, Graney helps operate the college s observatory. He is the author of the 2015 book Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science Against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo, published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

His latest blog post is here: http://www.vofoundation.org/blog/knowing-the-moons-distance/